Imagine being part of a massive crowd, captivated by the teachings of Jesus, soaking in His powerful words. As the day goes on, you start to feel hunger creeping in. You glance around and realize there's no food in sight. Torn between satisfying your hunger and the desire to hear more, you're at a crossroads.
Then, something extraordinary happens. Jesus takes a meager offering—just five loaves of bread and two fish—and miraculously feeds the entire multitude.
At first glance, the story found in Matthew 14:13-21 seems to be about Jesus' miraculous provision. But if we dig deeper, we uncover a hidden lesson…
Before Jesus began to distribute the food, He looked up to heaven, blessed the loaves and fish, and gave thanks. This act of gratitude allowed for the miracle to unfold, teaching us the importance of expressing thankfulness for what we have, even when it seems insufficient.
So, how can we apply this hidden meaning to our own lives?
A good way to start is embracing the importance of gratitude and faith when trusting God with our finances.
When we are grateful for what we have and step out in faith, we open ourselves up to witnessing God's work in our financial lives.
This is exactly what Linda and I experienced years ago facing a mountain of debt and the consequences of our poor financial decisions. On paper, it should have taken decades to work ourselves out of the hole we were in…
But, when we started practicing more awareness, contentment, gratitude alongside practical money management, we started to see the miraculous. God started to turn our situation around and as we were faithful with little, He continued to bless us with more.
It’s less about what we have and more about what we do with it…
"In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
I have to agree. And I think this is the secret that Jesus knew about a “rich life” that escapes some of the wealthiest people in the world. If wealth can ‘fly away like an eagle’ (Proverbs 23:4-5), then our possessions can’t be solution to financial peace or freedom.
Instead, I believe that God wants to provide us with opportunities to grow our character and deepen our trust in Him through our money and possessions.
Often this presents itself in unconventional ways – after all that’s what makes the feeding of the 5,000 so amazing. But that’s the point: when we live with an open hand toward God, it allows Him to take whatever we have and turn it into more than we ever imagined.
And that journey has to start with realizing He’s given us everything that we need (even if it seems totally insufficient for the task at hand).
Plus… gratitude makes the journey a whole heck of a lot more fun :-)